I dislike having to say I enjoyed a book like The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly because the subject matter is a bit grim. But I did like it. It’s got loads of atmosphere, believable characters and a great writing style. Some of the imagery really stood out for me. On page 36:
‘When she turned around, I saw her costume actually was a wedding dress: the dirty train trailed perilously near to the flickering flames, and like a dutiful bridesmaid I gathered the grubby satin in my arms, out of fire’s way. Her vertebrae protruded like a string of pearls suspended between her shoulder blades.’
The main female character brought to mind a couple of people I encountered during my adolescence and, as I recall, was appalled by. The setting where the action takes place, an old and very large house in a state of vast neglect and disrepair, had a personality all its own.
I think the prologue threw me off a bit. I expected at some point that the author would go back to it and all would become clear but that didn’t happen until the end. Which was fine – I was just very curious what the prologue had to do with the rest of the story. The ending was somewhat abrupt but I didn’t see it coming. (I’m not that good at guessing endings though I do try anyway!)
I'm not sure if it was because I was reading an ARC, but I had a small bit of trouble with the jump between the past and the present. There didn't seem to be enough 'separation' - one paragraph might be in the present and the next in the past. Perhaps the finished book would have more of a split between the two.
I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys suspense and twisty-type endings.